Friday, 30 November 2012

Anxiety and depression strategies

Yesterday at the Resiliance workshop we had a session/presentation dealing with anxiety and depression, which of course was right up my ally. When asking us questions during much of the presentation, I was giving answers so correct that they were surprised. I said that it wasn't from a text book but that this was part of my life. Thought at least I had a good understanding of the subject for them to build on.

There were a few things that stuck out for me. The first was how society has trained us into believing that there are good and bad emotions, like happy is good and sad is bad. In truth these emotions all have a place in being human and are the result of our evolution, so obviously they're all there for a reason. It's only when they start interfering in every day life that they get a problem. Example of hunting, you'd need anxiety for your body to be at the ready sort of thing. So that was a big thing to realise, just how much we've all been programmed by society to reject certain emotions, when in reality we'd be better not to put any kind of moral imperative on them. Even in modern life anxiety has it's place if it's at a normal level.

I remember as well an example being used of mine. Say I was thinking of going out and socialising a bit, but then I'd think something like "No one will even be bothered talking to me?" and then the anxiety about going out would follow. Unfortunately (knowing me) I'd likely end up giving my attention to that anxiety and try to push it away, which only makes the anxiety worse. The better thing to do is to give my attention instead to the negative thought:
"No one will anyone even be bothered talking to me?" and examine the actual reality of that thought. It is in fact a hypothetical that's entirely unlikely in a pub situation. To challenge the validity of the thought puts it much more in perspective. Like "well, that's very unlikely to happen", and it follows that the anxiety decreases.

Another thing was recognising that not everything I think in my head is correct, and assumptions that they are are what can get me into trouble. For example, assuming that the thought "No one will even be bothered talking to me?" is correct just because I thought it, gives strength to the following anxiety. A better way is to be able to step back from those thoughts, almost detached in a way, and to look at said thoughts sensibly.

This was one of the better sessions, found it extremely relevant to me.